Do you struggle to pick up the phone to cold call a prospect?
You’re not alone. Cold calling, where we’re contacting people who have no prior knowledge about the call, is one of the most challenging parts of sales. About 1 in 2 business-to-business sales representatives actively fear making cold calls.
Preparation & Research
Speaking to a stranger is a lot easier when you know a little about who you are calling. Research the prospect to find some mutual connection you can talk about. Check out their website to understand what they do and how your call will bring them value. It’s not so scary to call someone when you know you have something that could genuinely help them.
Much of the apprehension in cold calling is a fear of the unknown. Plan out your call in advance to alleviate this, taking into consideration how the call fits into your sales cadence. Consider some of these questions:
- How will I introduce myself?
- If they answer the phone, how will I start the conversation?
- What questions will I ask the prospect to establish rapport?
- What message do I want my call to convey?
- What do I want to achieve with the call?
- How will I close the call?
- What will I say if I leave a voicemail?
- What will I do if the prospect is unavailable?
- Will I be following up the phone call with an email?
- What if the prospect seems irritated or busy?
Remember: You Are Offering Value
A significant reason we often fear making cold calls is the worry that we’re bothering someone with a message they don’t want to hear.
The first step to overcoming the fear of cold calling is to know the products and services you are selling like the back of your hand. What value do they offer? What are their advantages?
Once you’ve convinced yourself about the benefits of the product, it’s easy to convince others. You’ll feel no fear because you’re calling them about something that can make their life better.
An important step to offering value on a sales call is to really listen to what the prospect has to say. Digest the problems the prospect has and respond with empathy.
Only sell someone on a solution you believe will be of benefit to them. This way you build trust and every call becomes easier to make. There’s no need to close a deal on the first call.
Examine Your Cold Call Script & Technique in a Safe Environment
Mock sales calls are a fantastic way to iron out all the various things that can happen in a sales call. They can be lots of fun, but you should take your mock call sessions seriously, stay in character, and take copious notes on where the mock sales calls went and how you could improve your technique. Ask for constructive feedback from colleagues and sales managers.
After time, you’ll find there are very few curveballs you’ll get from cold calling, as you have already experienced versions of every eventuality.
Record your voice in sales calls and use call coaching tools. Listen back to these recordings to see where you can improve. Review both successful sales calls and calls that went badly.
Often, we’re unaware of how our voice sounds and we’re not the best at noticing phrases we overuse, filler words, or small vocal ticks. You can also use this as an opportunity to make any necessary changes to your sales pitch and to try out new cold calling techniques.
Are you speaking too quickly in a bid to get through the sales call as quickly as possible? Are you boring the prospect with details they don’t care about? Are you asking enough open-ended questions to discover their pain points? Becoming aware of your weaknesses is 95% of the challenge here.
Turn Negative Emotions Into Positive Benefits
The adrenaline blast from doing something challenging that has the chance of failure is something we all experience. From giving a speech to performing on stage, the rush of adrenaline we get hit with can make you feel anxious.
But it’s surprisingly easy to turn that negative feeling into a positive one. Simply recognizing that you’re getting pumped up with nervous energy is the first step. It’s natural! Then just say to yourself that you’re feeling excited, not anxious. Smile. It tricks your brain into believing you’re happy to be there.
It really doesn’t take long to master this trick, and it works with confidence, too. Act confident, and before long you will have “tricked” yourself into becoming more confident. “Fake it till you make it” works wonders here, as not only do you begin to believe your own hype, your prospects pick up on your confidence and begin to respond better. So, you begin to have more successes, and you become naturally confident in your abilities.
Go into calls expecting success but embracing that not every call will be a winner. Sometimes people aren’t ready for your product or have other things on their mind. Even the best sales representatives in the world will always hear “no” a lot more often than they hear “yes.”
Thanks for reading! Want to dive deeper? Check out our article on the best tips for outbound sales calls.